View Full Version : April 10, 2003

04-10-2003, 09:10 AM
With only 6 amendments to the joint budget committee proposal, the Colorado Senate yesterday passed a $13.4 billion state budget by a vote of 31-4. The budget now goes on to the house for further debate and possible changes before the end of this week. Just where to cut spending due to stagnating tax revenues was at issue. The budget represents almost $1 billion less in spending than would normally be expected in a good economy. Almost 40 other JBC bills passed by the senate and awaiting a house vote comprise many of the cuts. State employees will face a salary freeze beginning on July 1st, the beginning of the new budget year. The budget will also cut about 600 state government jobs. Many of those positions will be cut by not filling vacancies. Many programs will also lose all or part of their state funding under the new budget.

Three rivers that originate in Colorado have been listed among the 10 "most endangered rivers". The three are the Gunnison, the Rio Grande and the Platte. The Gunnison is at #4 on the list, mainly because of an agreement to reduce the federal flow requirement through the Black Canyon of the Gunnison. The Rio Grande, showing up on the list at #5 is threatened by urban growth, mainly in Albuquerque, NM, and Brownsville, Texas. The river has failed to reach the Gulf of Mexico now for two summers in a row. The Platte came out #7 on the list. Wildlife concerns have earned the Platte it's place. Growing demands of Colorado cities and farms along the south Platte and the severe drought are the causes of the problems for the river.

The Trial for Christopher Michael Chacon in Alamosa has been delayed until august 19th. The trial had originally been scheduled for next Monday, however, Chacon's attorney, Brad Crowell, has asked to withdraw from the case. An additional payment of $5,000 in attorney's fees and a $7,450 fee for an expert witness that Crowell says is essential to Chacon's defense are at issue. Chacon, owner of El Perico, a Mexican food restaurant in Alamosa is accused of shooting his wife in February of last year. Chacon was allegedly drunk when he fired a gun several times in the couple's home, injuring his wife seriously and causing her to be hospitalized.

Just where a beer garden should be located for the 18th annual Santa Fe Trail Festival to be held in June in Trinidad is becoming a heated issue. Organizers of the festival want to use the large parking lot adjacent to a smaller parking lot that is directly behind miner's memorial park. A letter from the Trinidad Las Animas County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce read to city council on Tuesday voices concern over preserving the sanctity of the miner's memorial. Organizers want the beer garden in a central location between animas and walnut streets, the festival's boundaries.

The Alamosa County Commissioners were told yesterday that a cut in tobacco settlement funds could hurt local programs. A county grant application for $30,000 for the next fiscal year could be affected. Nelda Curtis, the tobacco prevention specialist with the Alamosa County Nursing Service, told commissioners that not everyone who applies for a grant gets one. She encouraged commissioners to write state legislators about retaining settlement funds for tobacco prevention and education programs.

The Colorado Welcome Center in Trinidad will host a military appreciation day beginning at noon tomorrow. Local veterans groups will tie a yellow ribbon around the welcome center flagpole in honor of U.S. troops serving in operation Iraqi Freedom and in Afghanistan. For more information, call Linda Barron at 846-8223.